Around 230 ballots possibly affected in ballot drop box fire in Baldwin Park

Local news

County officials on Tuesday morning received 230 pieces of material collected by Baldwin Park police from a ballot drop box where a fire ignited two days ago.

“That doesn’t necessarily equate to 230 ballots, although it should be close to that,” said Dean Logan, the L.A. County registrar-recorder.

Authorities need to go through the material individually, Logan said.

“My understanding is that in most cases, we are able to at least make out the voter information that is printed on the envelope,” the registrar added. “So that will give us the ability to contact the voter, which is our first priority.”

The county had been collecting ballots from official drop boxes every 48 hours before the Baldwin Park incident on Sunday night, when firefighters responded to a fire inside the secured box outside the city library. Ballots were last picked up from the location at 10 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

The incident prompted an arson investigation.

Detectives did not confirm further details about the fire, but L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said it “had all the signs of an attempt to disenfranchise voters and call into question the security of our elections.”

Officials closed the ballot drop box but are working to reopen it.

On Tuesday, Solis and Logan reassured voters that their ballots will be counted. They said authorities have increased their frequency of pickups countywide to every day.

Officials believe the Baldwin Park case is likely an isolated incident, Logan said.

Solis also commended local business owner George Silva for alerting authorities about the fire on Sunday, saying this allowed the county to salvage some ballots.

While officials are working on contacting people whose ballots have been compromised, they also encouraged voters who believe they were affected to contact the county at 562-503-2445 or vbmdropoff@rrcc.lacounty.gov.

Like the rest of California, all registered voters in L.A. County received a mail ballot this election. Locals can return their ballots to any of more than 400 official drop boxes across the county, where more than 5.6 million people have registered to vote.

More than 1 million mail ballots have been cast in the region as of Tuesday, according to county Supervisor Janice Hahn.

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